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I want a BEAUTIFUL Planted aquarium, without the expensive equipment? Is this possible???

Can I keep plants in my aquarium without doing the expensive soil, lighting and additives???

This cannot be answered with a yes or a no answer. But the shortest answer I can give you is this.

Each plant species have their own minimum needs and if you give them this, then yes you might not need to add extra lighting, food or substrate. But remember minimum does not mean growth, it mean survival

So let’s start by just stating the basics:

All plants need 3 things

· Light

· Food

· Substrate


LIGHTING – this is not the single LED strip or T5/T8 light. You will need more than that as basic lighting. So add more lights in the space you have, remember the more light you have the bigger the variety of plant choices you will have.

FOOD – all plants need food, but some plants can get enough to survive if you have fish with them and you feed your fish healthy food regularly. But regularly adding a basic general liquid plant food is still recommended.

SUBSTRATE – this is something that is very misunderstood and the one a lot of hobbyists fail on. All plants need a substrate to grow on, but substrate for an epiphyte (Like Anubias, Buce, Ferns) see their substrate as décor (rocks, wood etc), yes they don’t want to be planted in the soil. Other plants need to get a large % of their food in the soil and then the expensive option for soil is actually essential.

NOW to answer –

Clearly you need to pick hardy plant. What are the hardiest species & what are their needs?

I will describe a few here, but we are working hard to give you the species specific details for each one individually on our website.

Anubias – These plants are as hardy as you can get! What makes them this extremely hardy is their slow growth. Thus, surviving you biggest mistakes easier than most other plants. They are also epiphytes and take their nutrition out of the water, therefore the natural fish food cycle feed them as well. So basic lighting, food and no soil is need.

Bucephalandra – Buce are very similar to Anubias but don’t grow as large as Anubias and do tend to be a bit more sensitive, but not by a lot. Don’t let the price scare you off, Buce is one of the most underrated aquarium plant, especially by beginners. So basic lighting, food and no soil is need.

Cryptocoryne – Crypt’s are the most underrated plant in my humble opinion. Most of them are EXTREMELY hardy, they can lose all their leaf’s (melting) and still regrow. You can burry a thick root (rhizome like) in normal aquarium gravel and you can end up with a plant. They will grow without any extra food in normal inert aquarium gravel, as long as the aquarium is well maintained and established. So basic lighting, food and old gravel is need.

Ferns – Yet another epiphyte like Anubias and Buce, the common aquarium ferns like Bolbitis, Java fern and their varieties are also quite easy to keep alive.

TIP - they tend to make baby’s on old or stressed leaf’s, so don’t discard old leaf’s till they are dead. So basic lighting, food and no soil is need.

These are the slow growers.

Others are:

Amazon swords – They can be easy and difficult, the difficult part is due to the poor condition most are in by the time you plant them and you initially need to use a root tab to get them established. Once established they are a joy. So basic lighting, food and old gravel is need.

STEM PLANTS – here you will need to research each specific species as plants in the same genus can include difficult and easy species.

PLEASE remember this is the minimum, do some research and try and give them better conditions and they will reward you with faster growth and healthier look.

This was a very VERY short intro to this topic, I can fill a book with everything I want to tell you, but sadly space and time prohibit that.

If you need more info go on our website - - and if you still have questions PLEASE feel free to email us with your questions.

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